“Northern States Power d/b/a Xcel Energy” filed a rate case with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, PUC Docket 15-826.  You can see all the filings — GO HERE TO PUC SEARCH PAGE — and search for docket 15-826.

Prehearing Conference

Monday, January 4 at 1:30 p.m.

PUC Large Hearing Room – 3rd Floor

121 – 7th Place E.

St. Paul, MN  55101

Xcel is asking for a big increase, and they admit it’s transmission driven.  So yes, I’m interested, you betcha.  No CapX 2020 and Carol A. Overland (as individual) have intervened:

No CapX 2020 – Overland_InterventionPacket

So far, here’s what’s been happening:

A rough schedule has been proposed by Commerce DER, which will be hashed out at the Prehearing Conference, and probably altered as the case moves forward:


The PUC Staff Briefing Papers for last Thursday’s meeting:

Staff Briefing Papers_1_201512-116122-01

Staff Briefing PapersAddeudum_1_201512-116402-01

Staff Briefing Papers Addendum_2_ PI Decision Options_201512-116402-02

Staff Briefing Papers_Tuma Option_201512-116402-03

Here’s the webcast:  Video – should be good for 90 days from Dec. 10

Video – Docket 15-662 — Rate Design — video at 00:15:00 – 02:20:00

Video – Docket 15-826 — Rate Case — starts at 02:20:00

There has been one other intervention — “The Commercial Group” which is the biggies, like Walmart.  There have been several Notice of Appearances filed, but not interventions. ???

The AG’s Office has been the only one filing challenging comments thus far, which is why I have felt the need to barge in.  The “usual suspects” have been part of the e21 nonsense, and other agreements in the past that have both compromised their position and not been in the public interest.  Here are the AG Comments thus far.  RUD is dead on about NSP/Xcel’s overstatements, and those proven overstatements should be sufficient to grind this thing to a halt and get on more realistic terms:



This is just Minnesota.  Obviously there will be a similar proceeding in Wisconsin in the very near future.

And given this rate case is transmission driven, the linkage between the FERC approved MISO rate and the reduction of return on equity in the FERC docket will have to be addressed:

Lower Return on Equity for Transmission

December 29th, 2015



HOT OFF THE PRESS (thanks to Julie Risser for the heads up!): There’s a very long and intense FERC decision that has an impact on utilities’ return on equity allowed under FERC approved MISO rates — lower return on equity for all that transmission they built that we don’t need.  The utilities fight to build this transmission, conspire with MISO to push through an egregious rate to FERC for approval, and FERC rubberstamps it.  Business as usual!  But noooooo, 12.38% is not OK:

FERC EL-14-12-002_ALJ Order

Look who brought the Complaint (you might want to ask yourself why the state AGs weren’t the ones filing the initial Complaint, where are the ratepayer advocacy groups, and of course, where are the “environmental” groups?):


To see the complete docket, all the filings, go to the FERC LIBRARY and search for docket EL14-12-002.

This goes back a ways, the gears turn slowly at FERC.  Over a year ago, a Complaint was filed at FERC seeking to lower the 12.38% return on transmission:


Read today’s STrib article here (and thanks to David Schaffer for posting the link to the Order):

Midwest consumer advocates win victory on electric grid transmission rates

The issue, per the ALJ:

1Here’s a more detailed look at the issues in the Complaint:


From my perspective, the issue is a lot more than that, because this transmission was built for a private purpose, that “lower production costs” is a benefit to the producer.  That market access is a benefit to the producer/seller and those buying wholesale to sell at ? price.  That this transmission for a private purpose is being built on the backs of landowners whose land is being impermissibly, unconstitutionally taken.  But that’s not going to be addressed here.  … sigh… oh well.

How do these rates compare with return granted by Minnesota’s PUC?  Here are the ask, interim and ultimate result for Xcel rate cases since 2005:


Who cares about this?  Anyone who lives in the MISO district should, and oh, has it expanded over the years:


And anyone looking at MISO Schedule 26A (updated every year) should care — this is how they’re apportioning costs among the utilities handling the many zones in MISO:

Sched26A_ZoneYeah, it’s impossible to read — here’s the Excel spreadsheet (2014 version, this is updated annually):

Exhibit B_Schedule 26A Indicative Annual Charges_02262014

What is the impact of this scheme on ratepayers?  Who knows… it’s anyone’s guess.  For example, check the Badger Coulee transmission project (eastern part of CapX 2020 masterplan, from La Crosse to Madison) record about cost allocation, rate recovery, return on investment… Look at the testimony of Hodgeson (ATC) and Hoesly (NSP-Wisconsin).  Hodgson’s not exactly credible on the stand — when questioned about rate impacts on ratepayers, nada, he refused to address impacts on ratepayers, only that “benefits” will go to utilities:


Trying again:


So not only is this an issue in the FERC case, but this is an important issue in the current Minnesota rate case.  For filings on that, go to PUC Search Documents and search for docket 15-826.

Tooth be told, what a pain!

December 28th, 2015


Oh, the joys of this part-time job called health care.  After two 4 hour diagnostic sessions at the U of M (because couldn’t find dentist that would take a new UCare patient), and with help of a great dental student we had finally a “Treatment Plan,” I learned that the U of M does not work with South County, the new UCare replacement.  Utterly screwed.

And today I get a notice that I would have no coverage at all because I hadn’t selected (which I HAD, and chose the wrong plan!).  The Notice of Health Plan Enrollment said that I could “change to a different health plan at any time, for cause, including lack of access to services and providers…”


So today after 3.5 hours of fartin’ around, facebook and reading the STrib, and filing all this medical crap in the medical files while on hold, I’ve now got Medica coverage, coverage which is accepted by U of M confirmed by both Medica and U of M, and now have the joy of yet another appointment, appointment booked, this time for actual, and not imagined, torture in the dental chair.

There’s something very sick about being gleeful to get coverage straightened out for such pain.



Here’s the decision:

Line 67 ruling Dec 2015

This decision is important because it is not just this pipeline — because the basis for it is the Presidential Permit, and the notion that issuance of a Presidential Permit may not be appealed applies to the Presidential Permit for the (Not-so) Great Northern Transmission Line too!

Hillary Clinton — WITHDRAW!

December 19th, 2015


Hillary, it’s time to withdraw.  You and your employees and toadies have gone too far in attempts to trash Bernie Sanders’ campaign.  It didn’t work.  And now it’s time for you to accept responsibility for those acting in your interests and withdraw from the race for President.  You’ve failed in the character and ethics department.  You’re disqualified.

(And for the record, Aharon Wasserman says he is NOT related to Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.)